On Thursday, the CBS Evening News was the first to break the broadcast network blackout surrounding Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s steadfast support for infanticide, aka killing newborn babies. Unfortunately, CBS downplayed the controversy by suggesting it was overblown by “conservatives pounc[ing]” on the Governor.
Along with that, CBS also deceptively edited video of Northam’s controversial comments to make them seem less radical.
Instead of framing the story as the Northam saying something abhorrent and getting deserved backlash over it, anchor Jeff Glor announced that “Virginia's Governor today responded to critics after a move by Democrats to ease restriction on late-term abortions ignited an intense debate.”
According to CBS political correspondent Ed O’Keefe, Northam didn’t upset people who were pro-life, he upset those “anti-abortion rights activists.” “Ralph Northam said outrage over a Democratic-sponsored abortion bill was unfound,” he parroted.
O’Keefe noted that the bill failed in the legislature but obscured what it would have allowed. “It dealt with abortions in the third trimester, which are currently legal in Virginia, if three doctors determine the life or health of the mother is at risk,” he explained. “Under the proposed law, only one doctor's approval would be necessary, among other changes.” Talk about burying the lead.
While O’Keefe did play a soundbite of Northern Virginia-area Democratic Delegate Kathy Tran affirming her bill would allow for an abortion while a mother was in labor, he helped her walk it back as just her misspeaking. “Yesterday, Northam had tried defending her but drew national attention when he said abortion could be considered even during birth, if the baby suffered severe abnormalities,” he added.
Here was where the edited video came into play. Northam’s controversial comments came during an appearance on radio station WTOP (which can be watched here). The only soundbite O’Keefe and CBS played was Northam saying: “And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
But Northam’s full comments on the bill painted a much more horrifying picture:
So, in this particular example, if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that is what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue…
CBS clearly edited out the portion where Northam admitted that an abortion would be conducted on a baby that was fully “delivered.” O’Keefe parroted Northam’s weak “[my] comments were misinterpreted” defense after playing the edited clip.
For what it’s worth, CBS did play a soundbite of Nebraska GOP Senator Ben Sasse blasting Northam. “Let's be really clear what we're talking about here. We're talking about fourth-trimester abortion, or what anyone in the normal world calls infanticide.” Unfortunately, O’Keefe pathetically framed it as “conservatives pounc[ing].” At this point, words like “pounce” and “seize” have become so predictably to describe conservative reaction to anytime liberals do something bad or controversial.
He also appeared to scoff at President Trump for saying Northam’s radical position would give the pro-life movement a boost. “But polls show, that for most Americans, abortion doesn't rank as a top-tier issue,” he claimed while failing to present any such poll.
In sharp contrast, during Wednesday’s Special Report on the Fox News Channel, anchor Bret Baier showed off polls from earlier this month that proved Northam’s radical position was only shared by 13 percent of Americans.
O’Keefe wrapped up the segment by downplaying New York’s new abortion law that allowed babies to be killed right up until birth. This came after a study by my colleague Bill D'Agostino last week in which he had found the broadcast networks were silent on this New York law.
The transcript is below, click "expand" to read:
CBS Evening News
January 31, 2019
6:38:00 p.m. Eastern
JEFF GLOR: Virginia's governor today responded to critics after a move by Democrats to ease restriction on late-term abortions ignited an intense debate. Ed O’Keefe tells us what is at stake.
[Cuts to video]
ED O’KEEFE: Anti-abortion rights activists were in the crowd this afternoon as Virginia's Democratic governor, Ralph Northam said outrage over a Democratic-sponsored abortion bill was unfound.
RALPH NORTHAM: We're here to set the record straight. Virginia Democrats are on the side of ensuring women have access to the health care they need.
O’KEEFE: The bill failed this week in the state legislature. It dealt with abortions in the third trimester, which are currently legal in Virginia, if three doctors determine the life or health of the mother is at risk. Under the proposed law, only one doctor's approval would be necessary, among other changes. On Monday, the bill's sponsor, Democrat delegate Kathy Tran, sparked the controversy when she was asked by a Republican lawmaker if her bill would allow an abortion, even while a woman was in labor.
KATHY TRAN: My bill would allow that, yes.
O’KEEFE: Tran said today that she misspoke. Yesterday, Northam had tried defending her but drew national attention when he said abortion could be considered even during birth, if the baby suffered severe abnormalities.
NORTHAM: And then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.
O’KEEFE: Northam, a pediatric neurologist, said his comments were misinterpreted. But conservatives pounced.
BEN SASSE: Let's be really clear what we're talking about here. We're talking about fourth-trimester abortion, or what anyone in the normal world calls infanticide.
O’KEEFE: And President Trump called Democrats “the party of late-term abortion”, adding that the latest controversy “is going to lift up the whole pro-life movement like maybe it's never been lifted up before”. But polls show, that for most Americans, abortion doesn't rank as a top-tier issue, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi today appeared to want no part of the debate.
NANCY PELOSI: I'm sorry, I just don't know what he said yesterday. I just don't know.
[Cuts back to live]
O’KEEFE: State governments regularly consider abortion legislation. Just last week, New York passed an expansive abortion rights law similar to what was purposed in Virginia. Several other states are considering bills that would restrict or expand abortion rights. Jeff.
GLOR: All right, Ed O’Keefe, thank you very much.